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Old 07.12.2009, 13:19
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Noise complaint about dog barking, what to do?

Is anyone aware of a thread on rules about noise caused by barking dogs?

If not, perhaps someone can help me with my concern:

We live in a detached house with a backyard in Basel. We looked for such house to accommodate our 3 year old Lab and two children. Our dog is very gentle, but barks when she hears strange noises while she is playing in the backyard. Our neighbor whose house faces the yard has complained on the second day we moved in that our dog was barking too loud, too late at night. We apologized. Since then we've been going out of our way to make sure our dog does not bark after 10 pm and before 7 am. Despite this, the neighbor shouts through his window at my dog and me whenever our dog barks even once (before 10:00 pm), which sets my dog off to a barking frenzy. What can I do about this incessant complaining by this man which is bordering harassment? My two children are too afraid to play in their own backyard.
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Old 07.12.2009, 14:22
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Re: Noise complaint about dog barking, what to do?

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Since then we've been going out of our way to make sure our dog does not bark after 10 pm and before 7 am.
Although I am a bit dog crazy, I kind of have to side with your neighbor on this one. Nobody loves your dog like you do, and any barking from a neighbors dog can be quite irritating. Giving your neighbor a break only between the hours of 10 pm and 7 am is not going to keep you on anyone's christmas card mailing list.

Personally, I trained my dogs not to bark at all, and my neighbors appreciate this quite a bit. At the slightest woof, I make my dogs go inside. After a couple of weeks they stopped barking at the many people who walk by my house every day. As they are guard dogs by nature, they will still bark at people when they step on to our property, but not until then. This takes a lot of persistence, but it can be done.

Good luck
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Old 07.12.2009, 14:41
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Re: Noise complaint about dog barking, what to do?

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Although I am a bit dog crazy, I kind of have to side with your neighbor on this one. Nobody loves your dog like you do, and any barking from a neighbors dog can be quite irritating. Giving your neighbor a break only between the hours of 10 pm and 7 am is not going to keep you on anyone's christmas card mailing list.

Personally, I trained my dogs not to bark at all, and my neighbors appreciate this quite a bit. At the slightest woof, I make my dogs go inside. After a couple of weeks they stopped barking at the many people who walk by my house every day. As they are guard dogs by nature, they will still bark at people when they step on to our property, but not until then. This takes a lot of persistence, but it can be done.

Good luck
I was able to teach the no-barking-until-doorbell rings-or-stranger-shows-on-property-lesson to my dogs too but you have to be persistant. A barking dog can be annoying, it even annoys ME being a dog owner.

ExMilExPat that's a cute dog. Is it a bullmastiff?
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Old 07.12.2009, 14:58
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Re: Noise complaint about dog barking, what to do?

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Is anyone aware of a thread on rules about noise caused by barking dogs?

If not, perhaps someone can help me with my concern:

We live in a detached house with a backyard in Basel. We looked for such house to accommodate our 3 year old Lab and two children. Our dog is very gentle, but barks when she hears strange noises while she is playing in the backyard. Our neighbor whose house faces the yard has complained on the second day we moved in that our dog was barking too loud, too late at night. We apologized. Since then we've been going out of our way to make sure our dog does not bark after 10 pm and before 7 am. Despite this, the neighbor shouts through his window at my dog and me whenever our dog barks even once (before 10:00 pm), which sets my dog off to a barking frenzy. What can I do about this incessant complaining by this man which is bordering harassment? My two children are too afraid to play in their own backyard.
Excessive and loud barking as a habit can annoy and actually disturb humans and scare other pets like cats. Technically, either you manage to teach your dog to stop barking as a habit or the Dog needs to go. Did you consult your vet about the barking ?.
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Old 07.12.2009, 15:16
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Re: Noise complaint about dog barking, what to do?

This reminds me

Once I was crossing one of the major rivers in Holland on a ferry. A dog on one side of the river was barking. The echo of this would come back about two seconds later. Which enticed the aforementioned dog to bark again. And again. And again.

Closest I have ever been to observing a perpetium mobile in action

I hope the poor dog figured out he was barking to himself
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Old 07.12.2009, 15:27
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Re: Noise complaint about dog barking, what to do?

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ExMilExPat that's a cute dog. Is it a bullmastiff?
Yep, that is my little baby. She used to have quite a barking problem, now she just follows people along the fence and says to herself, "Cmon! I dare ya. Go ahead and touch my fence and see what happens! I double dare ya!".
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Old 07.12.2009, 15:53
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Re: Noise complaint about dog barking, what to do?

I would be interested in knowing whether a barking dog is "against any law".

Dogs bark, that's what they do. My dog barks, my neighbors's dogs bark. They all bark together. When a neighbor complains, take the neighbor a bottle of wine (a nice one) and get to know them...they won't complain as often.
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Old 07.12.2009, 15:54
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Re: Noise complaint about dog barking, what to do?

As the owner of a breed renown as barkers, I understand both your concern - and your neighbor's.

No one should complain at a woof or two, but continued barking is a problem. Here in Switzerland it is important to understand that reasonable quiet is expected. Excessive barking has be curbed if one wants to keep peace in the neighborhood.

My dogs bark too much, I know that. They are herders, their instinct is to tell you - and the world - about every little thing that is going on around them. While I may never be able to keep them completely quiet, I do have a duty to ensure that they bother the neighbors as little as possible.

I have found that the most effective thing is to speak with your neighbor frankly about the issue. Reassure him that you are aware of the problem, and are actively working to correct it. Pop over with a bottle of wine, explain that you understand his concerns, ask for his indulgence while you work to teach your dog to be quieter.

I find that being seen training my dogs works wonders. I go out in the garden and put my guys through their paces at times when I know the neighborhood curtains are a-twitchin'. The neighbors see how hard I work with my guys - I think it brings home to them that I am indeed a responsible owner - and that training a dog does not happen overnight.

Some practical tips:

Never leave your dog unattended in the garden. Go out with them and engage them in games or training while they are outside. 'Brain training' is the best antidote to barking. My guys help me garden - they fetch trowels, gloves, etc.

If your dogs bark at passers-by, try to block sight lines. Maybe put in some plantings, or a solid fence.

Try re-directing. I've trained two of mine to grab a fluffy toy whenever they feel the urge to bark - chomping on a toy releases the tension just as barking does.

Train a solid interrupt signal, and watch for physical clues that tell you your dog is about to bark. Ear pricking, eyes narrowing, herding stance - these all tell me my guys are focusing in on something that disturbs them - and may soon bark. So at the first sign of a pricked ear, I give them their interrupt signal - that distracts them, brings them back to me. I reward them, and re-direct onto another activity. Soon you'll find that when a 'bark incentive' appears, your dog starts to look back to check in with you rather than barking automatically.

When I leave the house, I close the blinds to the first floor. There is less activity to watch, and thus less to bark at.

One of my guys is an attention-seeking barker. In this case, there really is only one cure: absolutely and consistently ignoring the dog. However, this is almost impossible to do in a Swiss neighborhood, setting up a vicious circle: dog barks, you try to quiet him for the neighbor's sake - thus rewarding him with attention and reinforcing the problem. My rather extreme solution to the attention seeking mutt was a two week vacation in the mountains. No neighbors for miles around - the little so-and-so could bark his fool head off without disturbing anyone. I spent that time ignoring him - he barked, I turned my back or walked out of the room without saying a word. When he was quiet, I rewarded him. In a week we had his barking down to manageable levels. If you are in a similar extreme situation, trying this approach might also work for you.

I would also suggest working with a trainer or behaviorist. The trainer we go to has been a godsend - not only does she provide me with help and support as I work with my dogs, but she also is there for a reality-check. She helps me interpret Swiss expectations.

Despite all my hard work, one of my guys is a hopeless case. He is ancient, riddled with tumors, and deaf as a post. He is also just about as cute and fluffeh as they come. I have thrown myself on my neighbors' mercy and appealed to their good will. And bribed them with more wine and chocolates. Potential complaints are usually turned into "O how wonderful that the poor little lost critter has found a home for the time he has left..."

Keep the lines of communication open; once your neighbor understands that you are actively working to solve the problem you may find he becomes a bit more tolerant.

Wishing you all the best - and should you need a sympathetic cyber-shoulder to cry on, feel free to PM me any time.
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Old 07.12.2009, 15:54
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Re: Noise complaint about dog barking, what to do?

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Since then we've been going out of our way to make sure our dog does not bark after 10 pm and before 7 am. Despite this, the neighbor shouts through his window at my dog and me whenever our dog barks even once (before 10:00 pm), which sets my dog off to a barking frenzy.
Write him a letter or if you can't write in the local language then get someone who can. Explain to him you understand the problem and you're in the middle of a training period teaching the dog not to bark. Remind him that barking is a normal behavior and just one way dogs communicate. Explain to the neighbor in the letter that his yelling out his window every time the dog makes one bark gets the dog excited (more barking) and ruins all the training you've done up to that point.
Finish with telling him that if he truly wants the dog to stop barking he's going to have to cooperate and stop his barking at the dog as well.
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Old 07.12.2009, 16:26
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Re: Noise complaint about dog barking, what to do?

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Yep, that is my little baby. She used to have quite a barking problem, now she just follows people along the fence and says to herself, "Cmon! I dare ya. Go ahead and touch my fence and see what happens! I double dare ya!".
If you mean that by touching your fence the dog may bite or become aggressive you should a little careful as the Geneva authorities clamp down very hard, even on private property. It may seem hard and unnecessary but the authorities do not like all the negative publicity when somebody get bitten. Even if it's a proven fact that the dog was agravated beforehand.
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Old 07.12.2009, 17:19
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Re: Noise complaint about dog barking, what to do?

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If you mean that by touching your fence the dog may bite or become aggressive you should a little careful as the Geneva authorities clamp down very hard, even on private property. It may seem hard and unnecessary but the authorities do not like all the negative publicity when somebody get bitten. Even if it's a proven fact that the dog was agravated beforehand.
This is the way it is in Basel too. The owners of a Dog i walk each day bit a policemen who entered the owners grounds.He is an old,grumpy and a very protective Dog. Result after biting the policeman was CHF1000 fine and if he bites again the owners have been told he will have to be put to sleep.
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Old 07.12.2009, 17:42
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Re: Noise complaint about dog barking, what to do?

You've gotten some really good advice here: train your dog and talk to your neighbor.

According to the Swiss Civil Code, "an owner is obligated to abstain from all excessive emissions affecting the property of the neighbors". (ZGB 684) Excessive dog barking falls under this statute as interfering with the enjoyment of one's property. What is excessive? That is something that is not clearly defined. In Germany the court ruled that a dog may not bark for more than 30 minutes daily and not longer than 10 minutes continuously. In Switzerland, the Schweizer Tierschutz STS puts the tolerance limit at around one hour daily or repeated barking during the times declared to be "quiet times".

Depending on the city or village, there may even be local ordinances that define more closely when barking becomes a public nuisance. There have been cases of dog owners being fined due to disturbance of public order as the result of their dog's barking.

Neighborly fights can turn ugly so fast it defies belief. People sometimes seem to lose touch with reality. So, in order to avoid any escalation, it is best to take the very good advice offered here and talk with your neighbor and be seen to be training your dog.

Good luck.

(As a dog lover, I do find it rather unfair that cats are considered (as decided by a German court) as such an integral part of European culture that one is expected to put up a certain amount of nuisance, like them doing their business in your garden. )
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Old 07.12.2009, 17:48
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Re: Noise complaint about dog barking, what to do?

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I would be interested in knowing whether a barking dog is "against any law".

Dogs bark, that's what they do. My dog barks, my neighbors's dogs bark. They all bark together. When a neighbor complains, take the neighbor a bottle of wine (a nice one) and get to know them...they won't complain as often.
No!! N-o-o-o-o-o-o!!!!!!! Not the "Noise Rule In Switzerland" thread again!!

Pl-e-e-e-e-z-z-z-e-e-!! I promise I'll be quiet for the rest of the year!!!
.
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Old 07.12.2009, 18:17
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Re: Noise complaint about dog barking, what to do?

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The owners of a Dog i walk each day bit a policemen who entered the owners grounds.
This is the fine line in training a dog not to bark. I have seen products that shock dogs or spray them with citronella every time they bark, and I have heard that they are very effective and can eliminate a dogs desire to bark entirely. In my opinion this takes away the dogs first line of defense. Dogs need the ability to communicate a warning before they are forced into a situation where they feel that they have to bite. And so, this is the hard part in training a dog when and when not to bark. You have to be there with them at all times and they will pick up on what is acceptable and what is not when it comes to barking.

I also recommend posting signs at entrances to your property to beware of dogs regardless of the breed of dog. All dogs are naturally protective, some are just more inclined to the job than others. I have a lot of experience with dogs of dangerous breeds, and the breed I fear the most are...the Chihuahua's! They have a habit of letting you get very close before they explode in a tiny ball of fury. Seriously, they can be very frightening.

Last edited by ExMilExPat; 07.12.2009 at 18:47.
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Old 07.12.2009, 18:20
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Re: Noise complaint about dog barking, what to do?

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Dogs bark, that's what they do. My dog barks, my neighbors's dogs bark. They all bark together. When a neighbor complains, take the neighbor a bottle of wine (a nice one) and get to know them...they won't complain as often.
If i was in the neighbour's place, i would treat the 2 issues mutually exclusive, take the bottle of wine as a sign of friendship and complain to the relevant authorities about the dog. The friendship can still go on and i would invite my (ex-dog) neighbour over for tea to reciprocate his kindness and to grow our friendship, but the law is the law (it was enacted after a good deal of research and deliberation).
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Old 07.12.2009, 18:34
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Re: Noise complaint about dog barking, what to do?

Think i need to find a home near a barking Dog with all this Wine evreyones giving away...
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Old 07.12.2009, 18:53
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Re: Noise complaint about dog barking, what to do?

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but the law is the law (it was enacted after a good deal of research and deliberation).
Indeed, the law is the law, but it certainly does not follow that the law is good or productive or that it was enacted after a good deal of research and deliberation, whether passed by parliament or otherwise. Case in point: it is now the law in Switzerland that minarets may not be built. Just because there is legal protection for something, doesn't mean that one should run to the courts, especially when it involves neighbors. Just look at the U.S. if you want to be scared off that approach.
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Old 07.12.2009, 19:48
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Re: Noise complaint about dog barking, what to do?

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Yep, that is my little baby. She used to have quite a barking problem, now she just follows people along the fence and says to herself, "Cmon! I dare ya. Go ahead and touch my fence and see what happens! I double dare ya!".
I know exactly what you mean had a bm girl for 9 years myself... snifff
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Old 07.12.2009, 20:04
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Re: Noise complaint about dog barking, what to do?

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I know exactly what you mean had a bm girl for 9 years myself... snifff
Sorry for your loss. 9 seems to be a bad age for them. I have lost 3 over the years and they each died at the age of 9.

Coincidently, the first one I adopted was named MacGregor (Mac for short), and I also adopted one of his daughters from a friend after he passed away. So whenever I see one of your posts, it always catches my eye.
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Old 07.12.2009, 20:05
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Re: Noise complaint about dog barking, what to do?

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Sorry for your loss. 9 seems to be a bad age for them. I have lost 3 over the years and they each died at the age of 9.

Coincidently, the first one I adopted was named MacGregor (Mac for short), and I also adopted one of his daughters from a friend after he passed away. So whenever I see one of your posts, it always catches my eye.
That's cute
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